Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer are types of cancer that are often interchanged. But medical experts are very particular in its definition and these three are not the same at all. Colon Cancer is different from Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer. To be sure of what these cancers are really all about, this article will define each and briefly provide some facts as well as the importance of support, both personal & professional with online therapy.
Colorectal Cancer or CRC
This medical term can be used for both colon and rectal cancers, but there is a distinction. Colon Cancer starts at the colon, whereas, Rectal Cancer begins at the rectum. These are two very different parts of the body, but both are within the digestive system tract, specifically in the large intestines.
The large intestine is basically made up of the colon with four sections – the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon. The rectum, on the other hand, is after the colon. It is only 6 inches in length and the waste of the body passes through that canal. The opening of the rectum is the anus.
Now, if the cancer forms in the ascending, transverse, descending or sigmoid colon sections, then clearly, it is Colon Cancer. If it is within the last 6 inches of the large intestines, then, it is Rectal Cancer. But then again, both can be called Colorectal Cancers since the colon and rectum are connected.
Early stages of Colorectal Cancer
In its early stages, CRC may pose symptoms like stomach aches and bloating which can be misdiagnosed as ulcer or disease of the gall bladder. Some bleeding of the rectum may occur while releasing bowels. It can also be mistaken as hemorrhoids. That’s why you need to be aggressive and don’t take symptoms for granted. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, sudden weight loss, and abdominal tumors are also some of the signs of Colorectal Cancer.
Testing for CRC
Some of the tests performed to determine Colorectal Cancer are as follows:
- Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT)
- Stool DNA testing (sDNA)
- Digital rectal examination
- Colonoscopy (optical and virtual)
- Barium enemas
It is advisable that once a person reaches the ages of 50, they must subject themselves to these physical exams to prevent or treat early signs of Colorectal Cancer.
Anal Cancer or Anal Canal Carcinoma is a type of cancer that spreads on the anal tissues. The problem with this type of cancer is that it can be mistaken as hemorrhoids and so, doctors initially pass it off as such. Rectal bleeding and lumps on the anus area are its common symptoms. It may be too late when you discover that the cancer is malignant. Therefore, you must be vigilant when your anus bleeds and ask your doctor to have it checked for Anal Cancer, just to be sure.
So, Colon Cancer manifests on the colon, Rectal Cancer develops in the rectum and Anal Cancer progresses on anal tissues. Colorectal Cancer can be Colon or Rectal Cancer, but not Anal Cancer. Here’s to hoping that you understand everything correctly.
Treatments and Therapy
The most common treatment for Colorectal and Anal Cancers is chemotherapy. There are other programs to treat these cancers and it includes surgery, radiation therapy, and other options. Specialists like a Radiation Oncologist will know how to proceed and help those with Colorectal and Anal Cancers.
During this trying time, a person with cancer will also need emotional support and healing. He or she can speak with a counselor to ease the worries.